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Negotiation Team Takes Second Place in International Competition: Team Mir and Tozer's Excellent Adventure

JULY 24, 2012—From July 1-8, 2012, the ABA Regional and National Champion Negotiation Team of Bobby Mir (’12) and Ben Tozer (’12) traveled to Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland with coach Mary Alton to compete for the United States in the 2012 International Negotiation Competition. Alums Mir and Tozer, wrapping up their third year on the Negotiation Team, made a magnificent showing in this competition, placing second and scoring better than teams from 14 other countries. Singapore took first-place honors.

The International Negotiation Competition was started in 1998 by a group of negotiation faculty from Pepperdine University and Professor Larry Tepley from Creighton University. Both schools have always had strong programs in negotiation and other practical lawyering skills. The first competition, in Melbourne, Australia, hosted four countries.

One purpose of the international competition is to name an international negotiation champion. But equally important features of the week include the interactions of students from different cultures and a showcase of the culture of the host country.

The visiting teams attended a reception hosted by the Lord Mayor at Belfast City Hall and a banquet at the Inns of Court. In the Bar Library at the Inns of Court, two 40-foot-long lamp-lit tables were set for 100 students, advisers, judges, local bar members, and competition personnel.

The centerpiece of the entire competition was the observance of the 100-year anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Titanic, built by Northern Ireland shipbuilders. Since 2009, Belfast has been constructing a 126-foot-tall monument to this amazing vessel, a museum called Titanic Belfast. One of the group events was an afternoon at the museum, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, an economic development group with the mission to bring global business to Northern Ireland.

The Titanic was central to the competition in several ways. There was little question that Queens University and Belfast hosted the competition so they could showcase Titanic Belfast to students from all over the world. Each of the three negotiation rounds featured simulated problems involving the museum, called the "Titanic Museum" in the simulations. Mir and Tozer negotiated across the table from the museum in every round.

The first round was with Team UK/Wales, negotiating the terms of an employment contract for the Executive Director of the Titanic Museum. The client in Team USA's second round was a ne’er-do-well race car driver who had legitimately come into possession of the only copy of a lost silent film made about the sinking of the Titanic. He wanted to sell this important piece of history. This round was against Team Scotland, representing the museum.

The final round put Team USA against Japan, in negotiations for the Titanic Museum's acquisition of first-class dining room china, stemware, and flatware, allegedly from the Titanic. The American client was a distant relative of a Titanic survivor, who had left the artifacts to her estate.

The other 12 countries negotiating were Singapore, Northern Ireland, Korea, Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Denmark, Canada, India, and Switzerland.

This event was a wonderful opportunity for the all the students and their coaches. Congratulations to Team USA—Bobby Mir and Ben Tozer.

The Corporate Institute sponsors and underwrites the University of Minnesota Law School Negotiation Competitions.


e>Perspectives International Fall 2012


Bobby Mir and Ben Tozer

From left: Bobby Mir (’12) and
Ben Tozer (’12)